Love it or hate it, Google+ is here to stay so you may as well start trying to use it to your advantage. The overriding argument for getting on G+ is that, put simply: “It’s Google.”

Think how much of your traffic comes from search. Don’t you want to do everything you can to ensure that you maintain and improve your search rankings?

We’ve previously looked at how G+ and +1s impact SEO performance, and while there doesn’t yet appear to be a direct correlation between the two, there is evidence to suggest that sites with strong social profiles experience a strong uplift in organic traffic.

At Social Media Marketing 2012 Site Visibility’s Kelvin Newman took a closer look at the relationship between G+ and SEO.

He suggested that G+ was created as a way to help Google improve search results by giving it a better understanding of which websites are high quality and relevant by adding social proof.

At its most basic level, if something gets shared more then Google can probably assume it’s better content, though there are obviously exceptions to that rule (see Samantha Brick).

Furthermore, Newman said that off-site SEO is influenced by three overlapping factors: author rank, social shares and links. G+ now forms part of both author rank and social shares, so it’s clearly important for brands to be involved.

So if you’re convinced of the benefits of G+ or starting to come round to the fact that it might be important, here are four simple actions you can take to make the most of G+:

1. Add author snippets

If your site hosts blog content or articles then it’s important that the people writing that content signup to Google’s authorship program.

This is done through G+ and allows authors to get more enhanced listings (such as a mugshot and links to other articles) in the search results by using the rel=author mark up.

It’s fairly simple to implement and results in higher CTR for your articles as it makes them more prominent and adds social proof as users can see how many G+ circles the author is in. 

Newman points out that it’s a great way of increasing search traffic as if you can’t improve rankings you can still capture more clicks by using rel=author to boost CTR.

For more information checkout our step-by-step guide on how to implement rel=author.

2. Download Do Share

Do Share is a Chrome plugin that helps to save time by allowing you to schedule G+ posts.

It’s a useful tool for busy page admins as they can plan their updates throughout the week without having to spend time everyday editing and uploading content.

3. Add another sharing button to your site

It’s an obvious point and the benefits may be minimal at first, but adding a G+ button to your site is really a no-brainer. The chances are that your site already has social sharing buttons, so adding a +1 button isn’t going to take much effort.

Newman said that +1s are another way of showing social proof in SERPs as its shows that someone has vouched for that page.

In the long run this is likely to become more important and could even have an impact on the user’s behaviour on site, such as their propensity to buy or signup to something.

So don’t be put off by low numbers of +1s at first, as it’s all relative and it’s likely that your competitors also have low numbers.

4. Mark up using the Open Graph protocol

The Open Graph protocol aims to bring consistency to the way webpages are shared across social networks by bringing together a number of different technologies so developers only have one thing to implements.

It is recognised by both Facebook and Google and Newman said that it basically tells social networks what are the most important pieces of content that should be displayed when a link is shared. 

Site owners can then choose which title, image and text to display to make their content appealing to other users, thereby maximising traffic from social shares and improving your social footprint.